Part 5 - Resting by Faith
Acknowledgment of the Creator's Place and Works
Psalm 95 continues about Yahweh who is the "great God" and "great King" above all gods: "In His hand are the deep places of the earth; The heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; And His hands formed the dry land" (Ps. 95:4-5).
In this psalm of contrast between faith and unbelief in God, here is a key element: acknowledgment of God as the Creator. This is not just an acknowledgment of God as simply the Creator, but as the One who as Creator is the owner of His creation. He is the God of creation, the Lord over His creation, and the guide of that which He created. From the lowest parts of the earth, the "deep places," to the highest parts, the "heights of the hills," from the sea to the "dry land," all is His for He made it.
He who built the house
The writer to the Hebrews, in speaking of entering into the rest available in Jesus Christ, says of Jesus, "For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God" (Heb. 3:3-4). Behind a rest in Christ is a firm foundation for that rest: the honor, power, and glory of Jesus Christ as Creator. The power of Jesus as the creator of the heavens and earth shows His power to redeem and be the creator of a heavenly people for God. This idea is used by the writer in speaking of entering into the rest: "For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: 'So I swore in My wrath, "They shall not enter My rest," ' although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: 'And God rested on the seventh day from all His works' " (Heb. 4:3-4).
The believer can have confidence and rejoicing in the hope that is in Christ not only because of the glory of who God is, but also because of His power, the exceedingly great power of the Creator. God uses the literal six day creation of the universe as a type of His work of redemption (see Part 1). The power behind creation is the same power behind redemption.
The glory of the Creator
This portion of Psalm 95 shows the uniqueness of God. Yahweh is the Creator. As such, He is the "great God." He is "above all gods." The difference is the difference between the Creator and the created. Anything besides Yahweh that man would lift up as god, himself included, is only that which was created. Yahweh is outside this category. He is above it as the Creator. As such, there is none that can compare with Him. The children of Israel were to consider this on the Sabbath Day. God created the heavens and earth in six days and rested on the seventh. They were to rest in honor of this. The sign of the Sabbath was that the God who had the power to create the universe was the God who was sanctifying them. The power that He had to create all things was the power that was separating them and consecrating them as a nation. A right perspective of who God is comes from considering Him as the Creator. In this He has great glory.
The psalmist wrote, "The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard" (Ps. 19:1-3). The heavens declare the glory of God. There is an exceeding vastness to the universe that is beyond comprehension. Mankind and the planet earth pale in comparison. There is no scale that enables man's mind to comprehend the extent of the heavens and the number and complexity of the stars and galaxies. Genesis says concerning the lights in the heavens, "let them be for signs" (Gen. 1:14). One sign that creation testifies to is the glory and power of the Creator. God's glory is beyond comprehension, yet we have a hint of it in the vastness of the creation.
"By Your will they exist"
The book of Revelation records how God is worshipped in Heaven as the Creator: "Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 'You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created' " (Rev. 4:9-11).
Here God is worshipped as the Creator. Just previous to this He was worshipped for His glorious being; now Scripture records Him being worshipped in Heaven for His glory as the Creator. Those who worship Him add this concerning the creation: "And by Your will they exist and were created." This statement ties together the concept of God as the Creator with the plan and purpose of God. God did not just create the universe and then leave it to run its own course. By His will all things were created, and by His will all things exist. The will of God for all things to exist must be taken into account when He is considered as the Creator.
The Creator's plan and purpose
The Apostle Paul speaks of the will of the Father: "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will" (Eph. 1:4-5) (emphasis added). Before God created anything He had a plan to create a people for Himself. The destination that God has predetermined for the people of His creation is one of being His children through Jesus Christ, through whom also they are to be holy (see Fruitfulness in Christ concerning predestination and the plan of God).
In the acknowledgment of God as the Creator is the acknowledgment that the Creator has a plan and purpose for those He created. It is an acknowledgment that one is responsible to answer to that will of God. Yet the Creator gives a choice to those He created: accept His plan and the destination He has set up according to that plan, or remain separated from Him in darkness.
The alternative to choosing God's will is frightening: eternal separation and torment. Yet God cannot be blamed for the suffering that results from rejecting Him, for eternal life in Him is a free gift that is given through Jesus Christ. This is God's will, not the alternative. God's will and plan for mankind is life in and with Him. Satan fell from Heaven when he rejected the glory of the Creator and sought his own glory. Mankind fell from fellowship with God in doing the same. It is the seeking of self-glory and self-exaltation that causes one to reject the Creator and His plan. God's plan includes the call to repentance from this rebellion. Scripture says that God is "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9). God created all things for His plan: "by Your will they exist and were created." This is the Creator's prerogative.
Glory in the Creator's wisdom
Jeremiah wrote, "Thus
says the Lord: 'Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom ... But let him who
glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord,
exercising ... judgment ... in the earth' " (Jer. 9:23-24). The wisdom to
glory in is the wisdom of God, who "according to the good pleasure of His
will," makes all judgment concerning His creation. He is the Creator, and as
such exercises a good and rightful judgment as to the course of His
creation. He is to be worshipped for His being that is characterized by
lovingkindness, and He is to be worshipped as the Creator who guides His
creation. The rest and peace that comes through submitting to the will of
the Creator is given to those who "commit their souls to Him in doing
good, as to a faithful Creator" (1 Peter 4:19).